Force hoping indoor success carries forward


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The Niverville Force are having quite the year so far in the Mantioba Major Soccer League’s (MMSL) indoor second division.

The Force are undefeated on the season through eight games, only giving up seven goals, in the high-paced indoor game. The half-field game includes nine players per-side, no offsides and halves of 30 minutes.

For head coach Andry Giesbrecht, who also coaches the outdoor team, the results on the field are just a bonus.

“It’s been going really good for us,” Giesbrecht said after his team defeated Kucame B FC’s squad 4-1 Jan. 7.

“We’ve been using every player on our squad as well… We want everybody to get better. The goal is not to win the second division in winter, it’s to get development for summer.”

The Force finished third in the MMSL outdoor second division in 2022, rising quickly through the ranks of Manitoba soccer. The team was only founded in 2021, and were placed in the fourth division. Due to the pandemic, Manitoba Soccer combined the fourth and third division, and the Force were able to win promotion to the second division.

There, Niverville proved they belonged by playing stifling defense and owning their home field to remain in the top half of the league standings throughout the season.

Giesbrecht is aiming even higher for 2023.

“This year our goal is to be top two,” he said. In the MMSL the top two teams of each division are promoted, and the bottom two are relegated.

“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but that’s our goal. We’ve had two years and the guys have been really working hard. There’s a chance (we could be promoted).”

As part of that quest for further promotion, the Force decided to enter a team into the indoor season. All games are played at indoor facilities in Winnipeg, with most of Niverville’s matches taking place at the Winnipeg South facility, near the University of Manitoba and Investor’s Group Field.

“It builds a lot of chemistry, just being together and getting together once a week,” Giesbrecht said, noting the team has even integrated a couple new players this indoor season.

“Training is one thing, but you get games and guys get close. You know where to be on the field… Winter is great for that.”

The half-field format presents tough challenges for a manager looking to build chemistry. With no offsides, many teams dedicate players forward, and with nine players on the field, coaches can struggle to place players in a solid structure.

“It’s kind of tough to get a good formation going,” Giesbrecht said, noting Niverville doesn’t take advantage of the lack of offside to throw attacking players forward even if they don’t have possession.

“We want to play something that can translate to outdoor… I tell my guys, ‘we play the way we’re going to play outdoors.’”

Giesbrecht expects the core of the outdoor team which finished third to return.

“We had something good going last year,” he said.

“We just couldn’t quite pull it off. We were really good defensively, we just needed a few more goals.”

The indoor regular season for Niverville will end on Feb. 22.

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